A new challenge for contingentists

Philosophical Studies 180 (8):2457-2484 (2023)
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Abstract

Contingentism is the view that it is contingent which things exist. Despite its plausibility, advocates of contingentism face a well-known ‘challenge’ to demonstrate that they can draw what appear to be intelligible modal distinctions (Williamson Modal Logic as Metaphysics. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013). In this article, I argue that if certain controversial modal principles fail, the challenge contingentists face becomes much more difficult. Whereas extant challenges concern contingentists’ inability to draw quite theoretical second-order modal distinctions, I present a challenge which concerns contingentists’ inability to draw simpler first-order distinctions. This indicates that in certain modal settings there may well be significant first-order barriers to maintaining contingentism.

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Alex Roberts
Concordia University

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References found in this work

To Be F Is To Be G.Cian Dorr - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):39-134.
The question of realism.Kit Fine - 2001 - Philosophers' Imprint 1:1-30.
Modal science.Timothy Williamson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):453-492.
The potential hierarchy of sets.Øystein Linnebo - 2013 - Review of Symbolic Logic 6 (2):205-228.

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